Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman has won two previous editions of the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) but will be looking to snare his first in a solo capacity when he heads to Randwick on Saturday.
Jon Snow (2017) and Quick Thinker (2020) were his previous victors in the Classic when training in partnership with Murray Baker, while his name was absent from the Australian paperwork from the stable’s earlier Australian Derby winners Mongolian Khan (2015) and It’s A Dundeel (2013).
The 40-year-old trainer will be out to continue his good association with the race when he lines-up Full Of Sincerity this weekend.
The Puccini gelding was third in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) before running fourth to the New Zealand-bred Tapildoodledo in the Gr.2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Forsman was pleased with his first-up run in Sydney but said he will need plenty of luck this weekend after drawing barrier 16.
“He was really good last start, obviously we have just had to go back from a bad draw and his sectionals were as good as any in that race,” Forsman said.
“Having said that, he probably has to take that next step up, there will be a few better ones stepping into the fray on Saturday in the Derby.
“I think he is a better horse ridden off the speed and coming with one run, but we will just see how the track is playing on the day and I will have a chat with connections.”
Forsman said the gelding, which is raced by Australian syndicator OTI Racing, still has plenty of maturing to do and expects to see a more polished racehorse next season.
“He is still a bit raw and does things a bit wrong,” he said.
“He got a bit fired up down that back straight (in the New Zealand Derby) and Wiremu (Pinn, jockey) did the right thing and got him rolling and put him in the race and I thought it was a very good effort from horse that seems to get better and better with racing.
“It was a race that stamped him as a progressive stayer and I’m sure with a bit of luck on Saturday he will do very well again.”
While Forsman is looking for a positive result from his gelding this weekend, he is also eager to see the other Kiwi-trained trio of Sharp ‘N’ Smart, Anadalus and Mark Twain feature prominently.
“We’d love to see the four Kiwis fight it out,” he said. “We have always bred good horses and we have good trainers in New Zealand. I think we have a very good crop (of three-year-olds) and we have some young stallions here that are doing a good job as well.
“You can’t really fault what Sharp ‘N’ Smart has done right the way through and I think he is clearly the horse to beat.”
Forsman will also line-up Mustang Valley in the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and he said any rain would assist his mare.
“It has rained a bit the last day or two, it is just whether is stays around,” he said.
“With a good draw (3) and a light weight, if it is a genuinely rain-affected track I think she comes right into it.
“In my mind she will go well on a good track but to win it she probably needs a genuine slow or worse.”
With a limited number of jockeys able to ride at 51kg or less, Mustang Valley will be ridden by one of the jockeys carded on horses on the ballot, with Michael Dee, engaged for first emergency Osipenko, an option.
Forsman’s Sydney contingent is set to get some reinforcements this weekend in the form of Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) runner-up Ethereal Star.
“She is going to go to Sydney on Sunday and will run in the Percy Sykes (Gr.2, 1200m) on Saturday week at Randwick,” he said.
Back in New Zealand, Forsman is looking forward to Group One action at Awapuni on Saturday where last start winners Riproar and Aprilia will line-up in the Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).
“Riproar is clearly taking a couple of good steps up in grade but I think with a good draw (4) he has got the ability to put himself thereabouts,” Forsman said.
“At this stage of his career a little bit of give in the track would be ideal for him. He is a nice horse with good ability and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him right there in the finish.
“Aprilia has good gate speed and can work across and put herself in the race. There is a bit of a run before they start to turn, and I think she can go forward and either lead or sit outside the lead from that awkward draw (11) and hopefully there won’t be too many dramas.
“She is probably one that wants the rain to stay away, I’m not sure how she would handle a rain affected track.
“Trobriand is clearly the benchmark and if he doesn’t bring his A game then it is a wide-open field.
“There should be valuable black-type up for grabs.”
– NZ Racing Desk